Delhi Police’s failure to place on record mandatory certificates regarding admissibility of electronic evidence has led a city court to acquit underworld don Babloo Srivastava and three others in a 2003 alleged extortion case.
Additional Sessions Judge Reetesh Singh acquitted the four accused observing that electronic evidence produced before it by the Special Cell of Delhi Police were “inadmissible” due to the absence of any requisite certificates under section 65B (admissibility of electronic records) of Indian Evidence Act.
“In these facts and circumstances there is only conclusion which can be reached at the end of this trial i.e. the prosecution has been unable to prove the charges made against the accused persons beyond any reasonable doubt. They are therefore acquitted of the charges framed against them,” the court said.
Besides Om Prakash Srivastava alias Babloo, the other three acquitted in the case were his alleged associates Pradeep Khurana, Jitender Singh and Fazl-ur-Rehman.
They were chargesheeted for offences under various sections of IPC, including 364 A (kidnapping for ransom), 387 (putting or attempting to put a person in fear of death or grievous hurt in order to commit extortion).
The court noted that the recorded conversations, in which the accused had allegedly demanded money and threatened the complainant, were verified by the CFSL Chandigarh and report of the same regarding voice sample was positive.
“However, in the absence of requisite certificates under Section 65 of the Evidence Act, electronic evidence produced by the prosecution i.e. tape recorded conversations, voice samples and CDRs (call detail records) of mobile phones connection have been rendered as inadmissible in evidence,” it observed.
According to the police, a complaint was filed on April 15, 2003 by complainant Sheetal Prasad Singh who had said that he was being threatened by Babloo and his associates allegedly at the behest of his business rival Nitin Shah.
In his complaint, Singh claimed that on March 11, 2003 while he was going from Lucknow Airport to the city, his taxi was intercepted by Babloo’s aides and was forced to go to the main entrance of Lucknow Jail where Babloo was lodged then.
He had alleged that Babloo threatened him to pay up Rs 25 lakh and directed him to meet Nitin Shah in his presence to decide the fate of business of High Security Vehicle Registration Plates (HSRPS) in India.
The police said when he did not participate in the meeting, the accused started threatening him over phone.
During trial, all the accused claimed that they were falsely implicated in the case.
The court, after going through the evidence placed before it, observed that the police has failed to prove that Singh had travelled from New Delhi to Lucknow on March 11, 2003 and thereafter was taken forcibly to Lucknow Jail by accused Jitender Singh and Pradeep Khurana to meet Babloo.